Nieman Watchdog

Inside ProPublica’s Healthcare Investigation

By Watchdog February 28, 2014

ProPublica’s investigation “The Prescribers: Inside the Government’s Drug Data” has provoked a swift response from the federal government. Winner of the 2013 Philip Meyer Award, it exposed the Medicare system’s failure to provide oversight for thousands of physicians who have written prescriptions that in some cases put patients at risk, in others cost the federal government far more than necessary, and sometimes were simply fraudulent. Charles Ornstein, who has specialized in healthcare investigations for years now, was joined on the project by ProPublica’s Tracy Weber, Jennifer LaFleur, Jeff Larson, and Lena Groeger. Nieman Reports spoke by phone with Ornstein as he prepared to travel to Baltimore to accept the award. Read more

James Risen’s First Amendment Battle

By Watchdog February 13, 2014

For six years, New York Times national security reporter James Risen has been fighting to keep his promise of anonymity to a source who told him about a failed CIA initiative. The latest round started last month when Risen asked the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize his First Amendment right to protect his source. If the justices don’t accept his case or rule against Risen, he’ll have to take the stand or risk going to jail. Read more

Clear and Present Danger

By Nieman Watchdog February 10, 2014

In the fall of 2013, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) quietly began booting up its Utah Data Center, a sprawling 1.5 million-square-foot facility designed to store and analyze the vast amounts of electronic data the spy agency gathers … Read more